Hard to believe that it has been five years since I began this path. If I were in a community, I might be taking final vows about now. I was reflecting on what I have learned in this short time.
Love is stronger than death. Love is stronger than anything.
It's okay to be imperfect. Which is good since perfection is unattainable anyway.
Most people spend their energy, time and money on things that, now, to me, seem ultimately insignificant.
It's okay to be insignificant. Which is good, since I am ultimately insignificant as well.
Also I have learned to let go of what is lost. Everything has a beginning, a middle and an end. Loss is neither bad nor good. It is simply the way life works. It is a waste of energy to be resentful about it. It is better to grieve, honoring those who are lost, and then let it go. Knowing that all things end makes me appreciate and honor each precious, fleeting moment. Grieving reminds me that I am human. Without loss, there could be no renewal, no growth. The ability to grow in wisdom is part of our humanity. And, after all, grief, too, will one day end.
Some things have changed in my life, although my continuing practice tends to make those changes seem like background noise. Most significantly, my work life changed dramatically two years ago when the company I worked for was sold and all the employees laid off. So I no longer commute to NYC for work at all. I now work at home full time. This enables me to stay "in cell" nearly all the time. I don't have a car so I am not tempted to run errands outside the house. I have groceries and pretty much everything else delivered. I rarely leave my apartment except for church or choir.
And no... I am not lonely :-)
Speaking of choir, another change is that I am retiring from my vocation of choral singing. I am getting older, and my aging voice can't keep up. After 43 years, yes, I am grieving this loss. Singing in choirs is the only social thing I still do; I will miss the music and I will also miss the community of singers, my tribe. But I will grieve, honor, and then let go.
The outward form of my daily practice has changed very little in five years. Life has a gentle rhythm marked by the Daily Office. I still keep daily periods of prayer, study, reflection and work. The Rule of Life that I wrote five years ago continues to be my guide.
I do face some significant challenges. Without a car, it is difficult for me to get to church regularly and that part of my Rule is a concern. Two years ago I suffered a pelvic injury that has left me with some difficulty walking; as a result my life is way too sedentary. And of course there are always money issues.
Though I must cope with them, these challenges are not very important in the grand scheme of things. The sweetness of surrendering to the totality of Divine Love makes everything else seem immaterial.
I am happy.